PHDA 04 - Spatial Epidemiology and Outbreak Detection

GIS technology a key player in tracking and visualizing disease movement and activity > read more


The courses that provided me the greatest benefit included the Population Health and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and Spatial Epidemiology and Outbreak Detection.Using the GIS and SAS skills that I learned from the PHDA program, I was able to create a Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) layer using GIS software, which showed peak greenness for the entire country over a ten-year period. Using this data and other administrative databases a team of researchers led by Dr. Dan Crouse and myself, conducted a research study that looked at how living by residential greenspace can impact longevity."

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Adele Balram, Data Analyst, New Brunswick Institute for Research and Data Training


Next course delivery: May 2020
This course is now available to individuals residing outside of Canada. Please contact Program Coordinator, Ash Moosavi at phdacoord@uvic.ca or 250-721-8779 for more information.


Course description

This course provides an introduction to methods in spatial epidemiology and outbreak detection. The focus is on application rather than theory: this is not a course in spatial statistics.

The course is structured sequentially to move from spatial exploration of health data, to quantifying spatial patterns and clusters, to spatial exposure assessment and, finally, to methods for assessing risk.

Broadly, the spatial epidemiology part of the course focuses on:

  • assessing exposures through the use of a geographical information system (GIS)
  • conducting small area health studies (ecological models)
  • incorporating spatial parameters into models for individual health analyses.

The outbreak detection part of the course focuses on visualization of spatial data, disease surveillance and the use of spatial scan statistics in cluster detection.

 

Learning objectives

  • Recognize when—and why—a spatial approach is required and the assumptions, strengths, limitations, and interpretations of different spatial methods used in health research.
  • Identify geospatial technologies and methods for epidemiology and cluster detection.
  • Choose an appropriate study design to address a specific spatial epidemiological question.
  • Visualize patterns of health and disease in place and time.
  • Analyze clusters and diffusion of disease to identify outbreaks.
  • Conduct small area and individual spatial epidemiology studies.
  • Critically interpret spatial epidemiology and outbreak detection methods.
  • Apply spatial epidemiology and outbreak detection methods to various population health research questions.

 

Prerequisites

  • Admission to the PSC in Population Health Data Analysis or permission of the Faculty Advisor or Instructor
  • Epidemiological Statistics (PHDA02) and Population Health and Geographic Information Systems (PHDA03) or proven proficiency in both areas. Proven proficiency includes:
    • Some experience working with ArcGIS and MS Excel
    • Working knowledge of epidemiology and biostatistics fundamentals, including regression, rates, risk ratios, and standardization

 

Instructor: Joey Syer

Joey SyerJoseph (Joey) Syer is a senior Geomatics Specialist at Hemmera, an Ausenco Company. Joey has over 10 years of experience in GIS and spatial analysis. He holds a BGIS from BCIT, is a registered GISP and a graduate of the PHDA program. To expand on these skills Joey is also studying epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Much of his time is split between the development of novel data analysis & data collection systems and exploring the uses of GIS technology in epidemiology & environmental science. Joey’s interests are in macro geographic processes, spatial epidemiology, ecology and disease transmission (One Health), and python programming.

 

This course is offered in partnership with the Division of Continuing Studies and Department of Geography at the University of Victoria.

 

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Page last revised: March 4, 2020